January brings snow, cold temps and memories from the presidential inauguration I went to nearly 30 years ago.
During some of my newspaper days, I lived and worked in Kentucky. I was part of a small staff that put together the Whitley Republican and Corbin! This Week newspapers. We ran around the mountains interviewing and photographing people and their grandpaws and grandmaws, along with writing stories about their kids in beauty pageants and various and sundry other things that happen in small Kentucky towns. Covering the wrecks and killings and politics was no fun, but there were more fun moments than bad.
One year the Corbin high school band was invited to play for the elder Bush’s inauguration festivities. We were invited to go along to document the story for the rest of the town to see. So our photographer, another reporter and I boarded a bus with band members and their moms and headed toward Washington DC — traveling all night long.
Besides going to the inauguration to report on the band, we were also scheduled to meet with hometown hero, Cecil Moses, at the FBI building. He had made it out of Whitley County, Kentucky to work for the big guys. Our appointment was first thing in the morning after we arrived. There I was, half asleep, wearing the same clothes from the day before, with my hair looking like who-knows-what. I managed to wake up enough to talk intelligently and take notes for my story. Our photog got some great pics (that’s news lingo) and we managed to put together a pretty good feature for the paper.
That evening we finally made it to our hotel and found out who our rooming buddy would be. Somebody else had the list of names and figured out who would room with who. I was young and not too concerned about it. Thank goodness I was put in a room with a band mom and not a weirdo! We got to our room to find out there was only one bed… it was a fairly large bed, but still. Only one bed. We didn’t know each other from Adam, by the way. I was tired from the trip and my FBI excursion, so all I remember was being decked out in my fuzzy pj’s and falling asleep by the time my head hit the pillow. The next morning we got up in a cold room, used a really cold bathroom to shower and then went out into the cold to explore. Washington DC in January is… well, cold.
There were bright spots though– it was fun and I got to see a few monuments, though it felt more like a flyby than a sightseeing tour. It was so cold that night, we ran from the bus to the site, looked for a minute and then ran back. I’m sure I could have qualified for a marathon right there. Incidentally, that’s the only time you’ll see me running — to get out of the cold. Abe Lincoln was a blur and we made fairly quick work of the Vietnam Wall. I want to go back up there to get a better look at everything, but when it’s way warmer! We also rode the subway, watched the presidential motorcade go by and tried out some good restaurants.
If somebody invites me on a trip like that again, things will surely be different. (what is it with me and bus trips?) I would go — with some modifications. First in my list of demands, I’d have to have a car. None of this bus riding stuff. Then I would need time allotted to get myself together before meeting FBI people. If I’m driving up there, a hotel stay along the way will be included. It’ll at least include coffee and a continental breakfast. I may have to have my own room — or approve the person picked out to share my room. The lady I was paired with 30 years ago would be fine too. I remember her being really nice.
This year I’m content to watch the inauguration from somewhere warm. It’s on a Friday, so I won’t get to sit at home on my comfy couch in my fuzzy pjs. Now that’s my idea of acceptable inaugural attire. 🙂 Wouldn’t it be hilarious if everybody at the inauguration was in their favorite flannel pj’s?! Too funny. I’m gonna send that to the big inauguration committee suggestion box.
Referring back to my blog from last year about running for pres — I need to add something. When I’m inaugurated, we will definitely be wearing comfy pjs and everybody will sit in a big ol recliner or overstuffed chair with a mug of hot chocolate. Now that’s my idea of fine living.